‘Forever’ means never having to waste any stamps

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:01 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

WASHINGTON — Say goodbye to those pesky 1- and 2-cent stamps that used to clutter up desks and purses every time the price of mailing a letter went up.

A new “forever” stamp — good for mailing a letter no matter how much rates go up — was recommended Monday by the independent Postal Regulatory

Commission. The panel also called for a 2-cent increase in first-class rates to 41 cents, a penny less than the post office had sought.

In addition, the changes would sharply scale back the price of heavier letters.

“Adoption of this proposal is good for the Postal Service, postal customers and our postal system,” commission Chairman Dan G. Blair said at a briefing.

A forever stamp would sell for whatever the first-class rate was at the time. If rates later climbed to 45 cents or more, the price of the forever stamp would also go up but those purchased before the change would still be valid to mail a letter.

Currently, first-class mail costs 39 cents for the first ounce and 24 cents for each additional ounce.

While the first ounce would rise to 41 cents under the proposal, it would cost just 17 cents for each additional ounce.

The proposal also recommended a 2-cent boost, to 26 cents, in the cost of mailing a post card, also a penny less than the Postal Service had sought.

The matter now goes back to the board of governors of the post office which can accept the recommendations or ask for reconsideration. If accepted, the new rates could take effect as soon as May.

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